Contract management vs. document management

There is much confusion between the definition of contract management and document management. Some people use the terms interchangeably, while others consider them to be completely different solutions. So what is the difference? And which solution is the right one for my organization?

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While the two systems are very similar, they have a different purpose. You cannot effectively manage contracts with a document management system. Conversely, using a contract management system to manage documents is not the best solution. Both systems have different functions that affect how those documents and contracts are handled.

What is contract management and document management?

Anyone who has ever tried to find a specific document in a sea of folders and paper knows how important document management is. However, contract management is something completely different.

While both are about organizing and tracking documents, contract management also includes elements such as negotiation, risk management, and compliance. It is important for organizations to understand the differences between these two systems to ensure that contracts are managed effectively.

Contract management is the process of negotiating, drafting, executing and managing contracts. This includes creating and maintaining accurate records of all communications and correspondence with contractors, and also monitoring compliance with contract terms and tracking any changes or amendments that need to be made.

On the other hand, document management is simply the process of organizing and storing documents. This can include scanned documents, electronic files, or even physical papers.

Standard features and differences of contract management vs. document management

Although both contract management and document management involve organizing and tracking documents, there are some important differences between the two disciplines:

  • Contract management includes elements of negotiation, risk management, and compliance, while document management does not.
  • Contract management is the process of negotiating, creating, executing and managing contracts, while document management is simply the process of organizing and storing documents.
  • Contract management helps organizations effectively manage their contractual obligations, while document management helps organizations find specific documents quickly and easily.

The similarities and differences between contract management and document management can be summarized as follows:

  • Contract management is a more comprehensive solution that includes risk management, compliance, and contract negotiation.
  • Document management is a less comprehensive solution that primarily helps companies organize and track documents.
  • Contract management is more appropriate for companies that need to manage contractual obligations, while document management is more appropriate for companies that need to find specific documents quickly and easily.
  • Contract management systems and document management systems can work together to improve the overall efficiency of a business. Contract management software can help automate the contract creation process, while a document management system helps store and track documents. This way, businesses can find information quickly and easily, and also improve compliance.

What is a document management system?

A document management system (DMS) creates, stores, retrieves, and manages documents. A document management system is a centralized storage location that enables secure collaboration on documents. Collaboration on documents can be related to editing, version tracking, and establishing audit trails. The main goal of a document management system is to create organization and efficiency and to allow employees to collaborate seamlessly and create document-based projects. In addition, a document management system allows employees to rely less on email and other forms of communication because of the centralized and collaboration-friendly software that a DMS provides.

Most document management systems provide users with the ability to track all relevant details about each document. For example, details such as the creation date, original author, last editor, reference to the document, number of people who edited the document, document tags, document size and more are easily accessible. A DMS simplifies the organization of these details by categorizing the information and enabling users to find it by sorting through all the documents and document data stored in the repository. This way, employee:s can quickly find exactly what they need without having to manually dig through hundreds or thousands of stored documents.

A document management system is a great tool because it gives authorized users complete control over documents. Set specific permissions so you can determine which users can view, edit and revert to previous versions of documents. A DMS reduces the need for physical paper and its storage - an added bonus. A DMS makes it easier to send documents and collaborate with your colleagues by eliminating the need to share documents via email or other messaging systems. With the help of a document management system, you can effortlessly collaborate with business partners and customers outside your organization.

The benefits of a DMS (document management system) include

  • Improved efficiency: a DMS can help employees find information quickly and easily, improving overall business efficiency.
  • Improved compliance: a DMS can help organizations track and monitor all documents, improving regulatory compliance.
  • Improved security: a DMS can help organizations protect their electronic documents by implementing security features such as password protection and file encryption.
  • Lower costs: A DMS can help companies reduce storage costs by organizing and managing their files electronically.

What is a contract management system?

Contract management software is used to manage contract lifecycles and allows users to directly edit, track and review contracts. A digital contract management system is a central repository that efficiently stores all contracts, drafts, and templates, allowing for simplified sorting, searching, and filtering. The focus of a contract management software is on the creation, negotiation, modification, signing and analysis of all legal contracts of a company. The ultimate goal of a contract management software is to automate the workflows within the contract management process, creating more efficiency.

In most contract management software, users can create and save templates through their legal department to refer back to for subsequent contracts. This prevents the team from having to create new, unique contracts every chance they get. Additionally, an online editor facilitates collaboration on contracts between individuals. This way, users don’t have to email contracts and risk losing them and losing track of the latest version.

Many contract management tools also have integrated electronic signature capabilities to save time and resources. With an e-signature integration, contracting parties can digitally sign directly in the system instantly, reducing turnaround time and delays.

After a contract is signed, a high-quality contract management system, provides the ability to perform data analysis and track contract progress. Contract management software automatically compiles data and provides a dashboard to keep track of key data. This gives one the ability to analyze emerging risks in real time and take proactive action. This applies to all phases of contract lifecycle tracking. With a user-friendly and detailed dashboard, one can see what step is next in the contract management lifecycle and ensure it is done in a timely manner. The contract management tool tracks these items automatically.

Contract management software is beneficial to organizations because:

  • they help automate the contract creation process.
  • they help manage contract renewals, amendments and terminations
  • provide a central repository for all contracts
  • they improve a company’s compliance situation
  • reduce the legal risk associated with contracts
  • they improve the overall efficiency of the company

Which system should I use?

For example, if your company or legal department is constantly working with a high volume of contracts, you should definitely use a contract management system to optimize your results and productivity. However, you might also consider a document management system to help store and manage documents that are both highly controllable and organized. Knowing your needs and the benefits or differences of each system will help you decide which system is best for your business.

Please keep in mind that none of the content on our blog should be considered legal advice. We understand the complexities and nuances of legal matters, and as much as we strive to ensure our information is accurate and useful, it cannot replace the personalized advice of a qualified legal professional.

Tags: #Fynk#Contract Management#Document-Management
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Dominik Hackl

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